Talking Turkey

If you didn’t happen to see it, my last post talked about how we expats can be some serious pumpkin junkies.  And while I have solved the pumpkin/pumpkin pie spice dilemma, finding the requisite turkey is an entirely different matter.

What I have learned is that I cannot just waltz down to my local Albert Heijn grocery store and pick up a turkey.

Not that our usual 14 pound bird would fit in what I lovingly refer to as my ‘Barbie oven’, mind you. Another story, another day.

My grocery story doesn’t sell turkeys since no one else bothers to roast up a nice Thanksgiving turkey. Because they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. (Although the Pilgrims did live in nearby Leiden for several years before heading to the New World, but that’s yet another story.)

With last year being our first Thanksgiving here, I had to ask around to find out where I could get a turkey. Turns out you could order a turkey from one of the local butchers in my neighborhood. He runs a top-notch shop, so I knew it would be a fresh, flavorful turkey.

But I also knew that after years of eating Butterball turkeys back in the US, Son and Daughter would not appreciate anything that tasted too different. Not to mention the Barbie oven issue.

Further research revealed that I could sashay to the local Sligro and place an order for the smallest frozen turkey they have. Nothing larger than an 8-pounder if it was going to stand any chance of fitting in said Barbie oven.

Sligro is sort of a cross between a restaurant and catering wholesale supply store (which it was initially) and a good old American box store. Think Sam’s Club or Costco for bulk buying but smaller and with a more European twist. And no car batteries or tires.

But you are able to find a few more of the products we’re familiar with in the US at Sligro’s than in the Dutch grocery stores.

Although not ranch salad dressing. For some unknown reason there is no ranch dressing to be had in all of the Netherlands. Or at least not that I can find.

And believe me, I do look. Everywhere I go. I find the lack of buttermilk-based ranch dressing rather odd given that this is a land of dairy-consumers who love their cheese and yogurt. They drink tons of milk.

Husband says colleagues have milk with lunch all the time. (I’ve seen people – not just adults, even tweens and teens after school – pop into the Albert Heijn for a serving-sized carton of milk, fruity milk or fruity yogurt drink.)  

Ranch dressing has to be in the top 5 of condiments/dressings used in the US. And with a country of 320 million people, that’s nothing to sneeze at. 

Plenty of American items have made their way over here and into Dutch life. Cartoons and television shows, fast food restaurants, songs on the radio. So where’s the ranch dressing?

I’m hoping it’s just a matter of time, so we can stop bringing a plastic bottle or two in our checked luggage when we return from a visit back home.

Or begging family and friends to bring some when they visit. Yes, it’s even come to that. Pathetic, I know.

On a more positive note, I was pleased to find fresh cranberries this year at my Albert Heijn. But in my book Sligro is only batting .500. Turkey, yes. Ranch salad dressing, sadly not. Sigh…


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